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Vanessa Roberts Avery: First Black Woman as Conn. U.S. Attorney

On Monday, Vanessa Roberts Avery was sworn in as Connecticut’s 54th U.S. attorney. President Joe Biden nominated Avery to fill the role in January and the Senate confirmed the pick last month.

(TNS) — Vanessa Roberts Avery was sworn-in Monday as the 54th U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, becoming the first Black woman to lead the office in its long history.

Avery, a New Haven Native who graduated from Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center, was sworn in by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in New Haven, the office said.

"It is an honor to return to this office, in the city where I was raised, to serve as Connecticut's U.S. Attorney," Avery said in a statement Monday. "I look forward to working with the many talented members of this office, as well as our dedicated law enforcement partners, to enforce federal criminal and civil laws, protect our communities, and ensure justice for all who live in our state."

President Joe Biden nominated Avery to fill the role on Jan. 26. The senate confirmed her late last month.

Avery replaces acting U.S. Attorney Leonard C Boyle, who filled the role following the departure of U.S. Attorney John Durham in February 2021.

Avery previously served as Associate Attorney General and Chief of the Division of Enforcement and Public Protection in the state Attorney General William Tong's office.

Tong's office provided a statement from Avery's confirmation: "This is an incredible and historic moment for Connecticut, for our legal profession, and our justice system. Vanessa Avery is everything right about public service. She is a daughter of New Haven and its public schools, and brings her deep Connecticut roots and connections with her to the Department of Justice," Tong said.

"She is thoughtful, incredibly hardworking, exceptionally qualified, and the kind of colleague and team member everyone wishes to have. I am so proud of Vanessa and this well-deserved accomplishment. I will miss her leadership and guidance in the Office of the Attorney General, but look forward to continuing to work closely with her in her new role," he added.

"Since January 2019, she led the affirmative litigation and investigations on behalf of the State of Connecticut in the areas of antitrust, opioids, government program fraud, consumer protection, child protection, environment, energy, finance, privacy and cybersecurity, and civil rights," a press release from the Department of Justice said.

Avery also led a COVID-19 Fraud Task Force in coordination with the U.S. Attorney's office, FBI and the Chief State's Attorney's office.

She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Connecticut's civil division between 2014 and 2019, a role that saw her handling civil fraud cases, asset forfeiture cases, environmental violations and civil rights cases, among others, the office said.

Prior to that, Avery worked as an attorney for at McCarter & English LLP from 2006 to 2014, and served as a trial attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. from 2003 to 2005. She worked as an attorney in Hartford for Cummings & Lockwood LLC. from 1999 to 2003, the office said.

(c)2022 the San Antonio Express-News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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